As prices continue to soar in major U.S. cities, seemingly breaking a new record every year, young Americans are increasingly looking for options to cut costs and make the most out of their income. CNN Business reports that many Americans have unexpectedly looked toward Mexico City as a work-from-home haven because of its significantly cheaper cost of living. Nicknamed “digital nomads,” American expats have flocked to iconic neighborhoods in Mexico City (CDMX) such as Roma and Condesa, which offer amenities and luxuries that would otherwise be unattainable for them in the United States. The U.S State Department has calculated that 1.6 million Americans are currently residing in Mexico City, with an additional unknown number currently staying on tourist visas, many of them from Los Angeles and New York City.
The Mexico Daily Post explains Mexico City has become America’s prime choice because of its massive cultural offering, its gastronomy, and its hyper-connectedness in a globalized world. As the work-from-home boom continues, young Americans are faced with the unprecedented opportunity of receiving American salaries while being able to live abroad. Consequently, an estimated 80 percent of the foreign demand for housing in Mexico City originates from the United States. In a study conducted by Trovit, a Spanish search engine for real estate, analyzing the foreign demand for housing in several cities, Mexican cities are the only ones where a single country, the United States, contributes the majority of the demand, illustrating the large scale of American migration to Mexico City.
While the influx of Americans to Mexico has boosted the country’s economy, not everyone is content with the increased American presence. As has been the case in many American cities, the arrival of people with significantly higher incomes to relatively cheap neighborhoods quickly raises the costs of living, effectively pricing out the locals. The Los Angeles Times informs that the locals in Mexico City have begun to face a sharp price increase in everything from housing to groceries since the start of the American migration to their neighborhoods. The Mexico Daily Post reports that rents in Mexico City have increased by 20 percent on average; largely due to the digital nomads’ high purchasing power in Mexico. The extreme increase in prices has angered the locals who have gone as far as calling the American residents “a plague” according to ABC News. The Los Angeles Times also reports that several posters were put up during the month of July reading messages such as “New to the city? Working remotely? You’re a f–king plague and the locals f–king hate you. Leave” showcasing the increasing anger among the Mexico City locals.
Despite the local’s objections, American migration to Mexico City and other places outside the U.S is not expected to slow down any time soon. The rising inflation in the United States as well as the perennial racial divides affecting the country have become push factors prompting young Americans to consider the possibility of moving abroad at higher levels than ever before according to a recent article published by Mic Magazine. The idea of living abroad has become more desirable as Americans begin to lose faith in the country’s upward mobility and institutions, something exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic.
Social media has also played a big role in increasing the popularity of Mexico City as a work-from-home destination. Several videos, promoting the perks of relocating to Mexico City have garnered millions of views and interactions; appealing to the estimated more than 3 million Americans currently classified as “digital nomads,” according to The Mexico Daily Post. The interactions with the videos have not all been positive, however, with a large amount of the discussion recognizing the harm done to local communities by digital nomads and advocating against the practice.